A Light Scratch on the Mind: Breathtaking Poetry of John Updike

John Updike passed away this week. Oddly enough, I have realized that I'm only two degrees of separation away from this great American author, since I know someone who knew him well (and apparently even inspired one of his early stories). How strange are tangled social webs we inadvertently weave.

What struck me even more though was a poem which was read on the PBS News Hour that he'd published in a collection back in 2001. A poem so amazingly lovely that I cannot help but share it here. May the ink make a light scratch upon your mind as well... Enjoy!

A Rescue

Today I wrote some words that will see print.
Maybe they will last "forever" in that
someone will read them, their ink making
a light scratch on his mind, or hers.
I think back with greater satisfaction
upon a yellow bird—a goldfinch?—
that had flown into the garden shed
and could not get out,
battering its wings on the deceptive light
of the dusty, warped-shut window.

Without much reflection for once, I stepped
to where its panicked heart
was making commotion, the flared wings drumming,
and with clumsy soft hands
pinned it against a pane, held loosely cupped
this agitated essence of the air,
and through the open door released it,
like a self-flung ball,
to all that lovely, perishing outdoors.

(via languagehat)

P.S. You can also hear the author read it himself here.

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